Research in the R2G aims to harness light to power new catalytic transformations

Our research interests lie in two areas of chemical space: (1) re-designing known reactions under milder reaction conditions and in a greener fashion and (2) discovering new reactions that expand the arsenal of transformations available for academic, industrial, and medicinal chemists. As such, we are interested in developing reactions wherein a photoredox catalyst, that is excited by visible light, works synergistically with a ground-state transition-metal catalyst to promote synthetically valuable transformations of enthalpically strong bonds. The mechanisms of these processes will be investigated such that the insights obtained can be leveraged to rationally design next-generation catalysts featuring heightened activities and selectivities. By accomplishing these goals, we can drive the development of new synthetic strategies that maximize the overall atom-efficiencies of multi-step synthetic sequences, which ultimately saves time, money, and precious limited resources. Researchers in our lab will gain extensive experience in organic and organometallic synthesis, Schlenk and dry box techniques, spectroscopic/crystallographic characterization of new molecules/complexes, development/optimization of new reactions, electro- and photochemical techniques, and data analysis.

Ongoing projects/directions in the Romero group

Discovery of C-H bond functionalization reactions

C-H bonds are ubiquitous. The ability to selectively functionalize one C-H bond over another provides synthetic chemists the capability to rapidly introduce molecular complexity at late stages of synthetic sequences. Unfortunately, many methods enabling the direct conversion of C-H bonds to C-C bonds require harsh conditions or expensive reagents/additives. We aim to obviate these drawbacks and develop new variations of classic cross-coupling reactions under mild reaction conditions.


Development of pi-bond difunctionalization reactions

Like C-H bonds, pi-bonds are everywhere. For example, olefins are common feedstock chemicals used in numerous synthetically relevant processes. Thus, hydrofunctionalization reactions have been widely investigated. If installing 1 group is good, installing 2 is better. Difunctionalization reactions of pi-bonds can also be achieved by a number of catalytic systems using a variety of reagents. However, copious waste products are typically formed in many of these methods. We aim to develop a series of X-Y reagents that can regioselectively add across pi-bonds under mild reaction conditions and in a step- and atom-efficient manner.


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